Chevrier, Antoine Marie, Bl.

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Priest, Franciscan tertiary, and founder of the priests and sisters of the Institute of the Prado; b. Lyons, France, April 16, 1825; d. Lyons, Oct. 2, 1879. The son of silk industry workers in Lyons, Chevrier was ordained in 1850 and immediately began serving the poor in Saint-André parish in the Guillotière, a working class suburb of Lyons. His ministry was transformed in 1856 when he discerned a call to help victims of the Rhône flood and share in their disinheritance. In 1857, he consulted with John vianney who encouraged him to become chaplain of the "Ville de Jesus Infant," a massive charitable organization founded by Camille Rambaud. In 1860, Chevrier acquired the infamous dance hall called "The Prado" and converted it into "the Providence of the Prado," which included lodgings and classrooms for poor children and adolescents, as well as a clinic for the sick. While continuing to live at the Prado, Chevrier was assigned to the parish of Moulin-à-Vent nearby (1867), but was relieved of this duty in 1871 in order to devote himself full time to establishing a congregation to continue the Prado.

He wrote thousands of pages of commentary, including treatises and a training manual, to assist those who followed him. The Society of the Priests of the Prado came to fruition in 1877, when the first four men had completed their studies in Rome and received ordination. The Institute consists of priests, religious, and lay collaborators. Chevrier died at age fifty-four and was buried in the chapel of the Prado. He was beatified by John Paul II (Oct. 4, 1986, in Lyons) who called Chevrier "the apostle of the poorest working class neighbors outside Lyons at the moment in which great industry was born" (beatification homily).

Feast: Oct. 2.

Bibliography: m. alliod, Un fondateur d'action sociale, Antoine Chevrier (Paris 1992). a. ancel, Le Prado: la spiritualité apostolique du Père Chevrier (Paris 1982). a. c. b. arts, De eerbeid waardige Père Antoine Chevrier (Bussum 1946). p. berthelon, Le message du pére Chevrier (Le Puy 1960); A. Chevrier, un carisma per evangelitzar els pobres (Montserrat 1986); Antoine Chevrier: prêtre selon l'Evangile (Paris 1986). a. lestra, Le maréchal Pétain chez lepère Chevrier (Lyon 1941); Le père Chevrier, avec lettres de Son éminence le cardinal Pacelli et de Son éminence le cardinal Maurin (Paris 1944). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 42 (1986): 24. j. f. six, Vie du père Chevrier, prêtre selon l'Evangile (Paris 1986). h. waltz, Un pauvre parmi nous, le Père Chevrier (Lyon 1941). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 79(1987): 30110.

[k. i. rabenstein]